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Agave marmorata (Marbled Agave)

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Scientific Name

Agave marmorata Roezl

Common Name(s)

Marbled Agave, Marble Leaf Agave

Synonym(s)

Agave todaroi

Scientific Classification

Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Genus: Agave

Origin

This species is native to Mexico (Oaxaca).

Description

Agave marmorata is an attractive succulent that forms a stemless, usually solitary rosette of convoluted, deeply serrated leaves with pointed tips and sharp spines along the margins. It slowly grows up to 6.6 feet (2 m) tall and up to 8.2 feet (2.5 m) in diameter. Leaves are dark green to blue-green, often with pale blue and gray-green stripes. They are up to 4.3 feet (1.3 m) long and up to 1 foot (30 cm) wide. Mature rosette produces a flowering spike up to 23 feet (7 m) tall that bears clusters of golden yellow flowers. It flowers only once, and the rosette dies after flowering.

Etymology

The specific epithet "marmorata (mar-mor-RAY-tuh)" is an inflected form of the Latin participle "marmoratus," meaning "marbled" or "covered or encrusted with marble." It refers to the marbled pattern seen on the leaves.

Agave marmorata (Marbled Agave)

Photo by Jeremy Spath

How to Grow and Care for Agave marmorata

Light: Like all Agaves, this plant requires full sun to partial shade. If you are growing A. marmorata indoors, choose a bright, sunny window with as much sun as possible. From spring to fall, it loves going outside.

Soil: A. marmorata will tolerate most soils as long as they have good drainage, but its preference is sandy or rocky soil.

Hardiness: During the growing season, it likes warm temperatures, while in winter, when resting, this succulent enjoys cooler temperatures. A. marmorata can withstand temperatures as low as 25 to 50 °F (-3.9 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b.

Watering: From spring to fall, water thoroughly when the soil becomes dry. In winter, water sparingly about once a month. Plants in containers require more frequent watering than those in the ground.

Fertilizing: Give your A. marmorata a small amount of fertilizer in the spring during the first two years. Established plants seem to take care of themselves.

Repotting: If you notice your A. marmorata becoming pot-bound, repot it with fresh soil in a new pot that is just slightly larger than the old one. Give the plant a week or so to readjust before you water it again.

Propagation: Since it can take years to produce seeds, A. marmorata is usually propagated by offsets. The best time to remove the offsets is in spring and summer. Sow the seeds in spring.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Agave.

Toxicity of Agave marmorata

A. marmorata is not listed as a toxic plant, but it may be mildly poisonous to children and pets.

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